Saturday, May 17, 2003

What the Horse Said


I'm not sure why Eric Alterman feels the need to defend the "gentlemanly" John Fund. The truth of the physical abuse charges should be known and publicized. And, if Fund is innocent of them - in a legal or real sense, then that should be understood. But, if I get arrested for domestic abuse my name gets in the paper. If I'm a public figure and I get arrested for domestic abuse, my name gets in the paper with a follow-up article or two. If I'm a public figure who tried to smear a political opponent with completely baseless charges of domestic abuse I can expect a little bit more than that - which Fund didn't even receive.

It's hard to see how Fund was exactly piled on by either the liberal media or the SCLM. And, the recorded telephone transcripts of Fund with his then-girlfriend make clear that he was engaged in pretty vicious psychological abuse - cruel, dishonest, and manipulative. The idea that Fund is just this gentlemanly fellow who was just the innocent victim of an unreliable unstable accuser is a ridiculous mischaracterization given what we know. She may be unstable and unreliable, but Fund isn't exactly the pillar of stability or reliability either, whether or not he's actually been physically abusing anyone.

Eric also makes some unjustified cheap shots against the Horse by claiming they've been increasingly going over the line. Actually, as a long time Horse reader I can say they've toned down the act quite a bit since the early days, not entirely a good thing actually. They're always far more careful with their analyses or facts than is, say, Instahack, and frankly no more strident.

A couple Village Voice articles and a few liberal web sites commenting on the arrest of a prominent member of the WSJ editorial page is hardly a massive media witch hunt. Frankly, there was scant coverage of his arrest. Given that the WSJ has spent years smearing political opponents - living and dead, major public figures and extremely minor players - with false accusations about their personal and professional conduct, shining the light on actual criminal charges against Fund hardly seems unreasonable.

In the end, I think people in the media have a tendency to want their own personal lives to be above scrutiny. Increasingly many journalists are justifiably called "public figures" much more than your average elected politician is. As the Funds of the world trade in gossip, smear , and innuendo at dinner parties, on the WSJ editorial page, or on any the various cable nets, they open themselves up to the same treatment. I'd never advocate being dishonest, unlike Fund, but whether or not he hit anyone Fund is a slimebucket who cruelly used verbal and psychological abuse to manipulate someone into getting an abortion. Defend him on the facts, but Alterman goes far beyond that.

David E. has some more comments.